John Hamer, a Community of Christ pastor and cartographer, recently went on John Dehlin’s podcast Mormon Stories and made the following observation:
It’s not only that it’s academically impossible to justify arguing that the Book of Mormon is an ancient text, it’s actually an ongoing contribution to the injustice, the racism, imperialism, and genocide that my [European] ancestors hoisted upon indigenous people in the [western] hemisphere.Mormon Stories Episode #1063: The Book of Mormon’s 19th Century Context, Part 3.
Hamer, of course, is uniquely qualified to speak authoritatively on what is and isn’t academically possible when it comes to discussing Book of Mormon historicity in light of his extensive and penetrating academic publications on this subject.1 So we can confidently accept this point with no disputation. What’s odd, however, is how understated Hamer’s comment is.
I mean, sure, everybody knows that accepting the authenticity of the Book of Mormon makes you a genocidal racist. (This includes, naturally, Elder Larry Echo Hawk, those employees at Book of Mormon Central of Latin American and indigenous ancestry, and the scores of faithful Latin American Latter-day Saints who believe the Book of Mormon.) But I’m curious why Hamer left out all the other ways in which believing the Book of Mormon makes you a morally repugnant human cockroach. After all, I was always under the impression that it was common knowledge that believing in a historically-authentic Book of Mormon made you morally culpable for the following:
- The Crusades
- The Black Plague
- The Spanish Inquisition
- The Holocaust
- The Rwandan genocide
- The Trans-Atlantic slave trade
- The Spanish Flu pandemic
- The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
- The Mỹ Lai Massacre
- The eruption of Vesuvius
- The Challenger explosion
- The Malaysia Airlines flight 370 disappearance
- The Heaven’s Gate mass-suicide
- Human sex trafficking
- The AIDS epidemic
- Pediatric cancer
- Stalin’s Forced Famine in the Ukraine
- The success of Nickelback
Well, I am sure that the indefatigable sleuth John Hamer will correct this oversight in his forthcoming book How Believing the Book of Mormon Literally Makes You Hitler, which I hear is going to become the definitive source on explaining how believing in ancient Nephites intrinsically compromises any worth you once had as a human being, justifies your banishment from decent society, and irrevocably casts you as a subhuman Nazi-Klansman-human sex trafficker-Nickelback enthusiast.2
- [Citation Needed]
- Before wrapping things up I must admit my envy of Hamer. To have such an abundance of white privilege that you can get away with casually accusing several million Latin American Latter-day Saints of being complicit in the genocide of their own race for simply believing a religious book is quite something.
20 thoughts on “Top 20 Evils You’re Responsible For By Believing the Book of Mormon”
Can’t wait for the Stephen Smoot version of Tinkling Cymbals and Sounding Brass.
You shall know them by their fruits. The level of discourse reflected in this post is an embarrassment to (Book of) Mormon studies, exhibiting all the control, equanimity, and generosity of a sandbox argument
I totally agree. Mr. Hamer’s absurd comments that believing a historical Book of Mormon makes you a genocidal racist could not be more embarrassing.
That’s not what I meant, and it’s also not what he said. But you’re not really interested in accurately presenting or understanding Hamer’s views, are you, Stephen?
That is exactly what he is saying. Hamer claims (A) that the very act of arguing that the Book of Mormon is an ancient text is an “ongoing contribution to the injustice, the racism, imperialism, and genocide that my [European] ancestors hoisted upon indigenous people in the [western] hemisphere.” Thus, (B) anyone who believes, teaches, and argues for a historical Book of Mormon is contributing to injustice, racism, imperialism, and genocide. Believers, including millions of Native American descendents, do exactly that. By doing so, (C) they are genocidal racists, since people who contribute to racism are racists, and people who contribute to genocide are genocidal.
Claim A implies claim B, and claim B implies claim C. Stephen is correctly pointing out that claim A implies claim C. Hamer’s claim and line of reasoning are ridiculous and lead to ridiculous ideas.
“But you’re not really interested in accurately presenting or understanding Hamer’s views, are you, Stephen?”
I’m confused, Ryan. You see, in the third part of the interview, at 36:45 in the video, Mr. Hamer says: “It’s not only that it’s academically impossible to justify arguing the Book of Mormon is an ancient text, it’s actually ongoing and contributing to the ongoing injustice, racism, imperialism, genocide, that has my ancestors have foisted upon indigenous people in the hemisphere.”
Do you deny that Mr. Hamer said these words? That “arguing the Book of Mormon is an ancient text [is] actually contributing to the ongoing injustice, racism, imperialism, genocide” of white Europeans?
So if I’m “contributing” to “racism” and “genocide” because I am arguing for an ancient Book of Mormon, what does that make me exactly per the straightforward meaning of Mr. Hamer’s words?
And as a matter of fact, I have heard Mr. Hamer give the exact same presentation before with the exact same slides and the exact same talking points. Back in 2017 when I visited his downtown Toronto CoC church building. My cousin was in attendance with me at the time. So I understand perfectly well what Mr. Hamer is claiming in this interview.
The distinction may be lost upon you, but to say that dogmatic belief in the Book of Mormon as an ancient text is “actually an ongoing contribution to the injustice, the racism, imperialism, and genocide that my [European] ancestors hoisted upon indigenous people in the [western] hemisphere” is not anywhere near the same thing as saying that someone is a “genocidal racist”. Words matter here, and the two constructions mean entirely different things. The phrase an “ongoing contribution” does not specify the level of contribution or try to equate it to overt genocidal or racist actions. What you are doing here is twisting words to make Hamer say something he didn’t for your own rhetorical and ideological ends.
First, I don’t see Stephen’s comments as ‘bad fruit.’ I see them as an obvious application of sarcasm — justly offered to someone who has not studied nor understood the message. Mr. Hamer (and Dehlin) are ”throwing things at the wall” hoping something will stick in the minds of people who are struggling with a faith issue. Their (Dehlin/Hamer) purposes for doing this is to destroy any possibility that some who struggle will make an effort to look back in faith. I see no issue in responding in a way to expose the ‘plot.’
This is kind of an immature sophomoric post. That totally missed the point of Mr. Hamers criticism.
Just because some Native Americans either join the church or remain active does not mean that the BOM and Mormon Doctrine is not racist towards those they call “Lamanites.”
Mr. Hamer had no point. He made an absurd assertion worthy only of mockery.
Hey, it’s a really good thing that Mark Meadows used Lynne Patton during Cohen’s hearing to show that Trump isn’t a racist because he hires a black person. I’m glad to see the same argument is being made here!
I mean…I’m not the white dude calling brown Mormons genocidal savages for actually believing their own religious text. That’s a level of White Savior-ness I could only hope to attain by listening to Mormon Stories and “heart”-reacting to David Bokovoy’s Facebook posts.
Yes, every modern day Mormon & Christian completely adheres to the teachings of religious genocide. The book of Revelation prepares us for the great day of wrath when Christ & his angels descend from the heavens to utterly destroy the wicked humans and throw their souls into an everlasting hell!
Now this is known as Holy Genocide on a world scale… oh yes racism, imperialism & injustice are all portrayed in the book of Revelation as well as found throughout the bible.
I, for one, am eagerly looking forward to the day when Jesus comes back and obliterates us with the Death Star.
Can’t come soon enough.
Now, I’m not terribly qualified in Mormon studies or anything like that, so I can’t argue from authority. But… Doesn’t owning land in America (or anywhere else that was colonized and you didn’t buy the land from an indigenous resident at a fair price) constitute a far greater acceptance of genocide than believing in the Book of Mormon? Just sayin…
Sounds legit. Seems like the claim of a historically accurate Book of Mormon is much closer to an “absurd assertion worthy only of mockery” than Hamer’s comment, given the known archaeological record. Smoot and Co. will need to work harder than this if that characterization is the best that they can do.
So much “woke” language, I thought this was buzzfeed for a second.
But anyway, yeah the church sucks.
Presumably Mr. Hamer regularly receives some sort of monetary remuneration as a minister of the Community of Christ. I would seriously doubt that he he has given or plans to give many sermons on 2nd Kings 5, Micah 3, 1st Timothy 3, or 1st Peter 5:2. I would further surmise that he gives little attention to Ezekiel 37: 15-20, Isaiah 29, John 10: 16, or Revelation 14: 6-7.
I crack up every time I see that photo of Dan Peterson. It sums up what his detractors both believe and fear. I think he should make it his FB profile photo.
“The success of Nickelback.”
How can you even joke about this sort of thing?
I may be a subhuman Nazi-Klansman-human sex trafficker, but the rest is uncalled for.
What kind of monster are you?
“My Homer is not a Communist. He may be a liar, a pig, an idiot, a Communist; but he is NOT a porn star.” —Abe Simpson